Economist editor quits to 'go freelance'

The Economist’s editor has declared he will stand down from the business and world affairs weekly to pursue a solo career writing books.

After more than 25 years at the publication, Bill Emmott will take permanent leave to begin authoring a book series on current affairs.

As a former Tokyo correspondent for The Economist, the 49-year-old said his first project will address ongoing hostilities between Japan and China.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Emmott refused to be drawn on whether his departure was linked to the latest shuffle of senior journalism jobs in the City, in light of an editorial shakeup at rival magazine, The Spectator.

“In due course I may take up other posts but I can’t imagine wanting to be editor of any other publication,” he said.

During his 13-year stint as editor, Mr Emmott boosted circulation to just over a million and raised The Economist’s profile in North America, to the extent that half of its readers are now located across the pond.

Looking forward, Mr Emmott believes his replacement can take the magazine, or ‘newspaper’ as it prefers, in one of two directions; either it can penetrate further into North America, or it can focus on becoming “more of an internet publication.”

Job advertisements for his successor are expected to make the national press, but The Economist reportedly said the quality of internal candidates is already “very strong.”

A number of internal news heavyweights are expected to vie for the position of editor-in-chief, but a decision will not be taken within the next four weeks.

Any journalist tempted to apply should heed The Economist’s mantra, first published in 1843, that it seeks to “take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.”


22nd February 2006

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